I had the pleasure of going with some friends on a 5 day cruise to Cozumel and Progresso from November 26th-December 1st, 2016. Overall we had a great time. If I had to cruise again, I would like to try another cruise line for the following reasons:
1. Hidden Costs:
a. We received a great rate for the cruise, but Carnival definitely knows how to make up for the price difference. I called Carnival and spoke to the reps in the Fun Shops about 5 times to ask what we could bring on the boat, how much drinks cost, rules/regulations, etc. Not once did they divulge canned soft drinks were allowed to be carried onboard. When we arrived we saw a bunch of people carrying their own canned soft drinks and felt cheated that the information was not given when asked. I was only told each person could bring a 750ml bottle of wine. Also, when I called and spoke to representatives they made it seem like the only drink options available were the two drink cards which needed to be purchased. After pressing further, I was told coffee, water, orange juice, lemonade, and a juice cocktail mix were included in the price. There was no need to buy the $6/day beverage package, since you could bring your own canned drinks on board!! The other drink package was $49.99 plus tax and it included all beverages and 15 alcoholic drinks in a 24 hour period. This package is not worth it unless you plan on drinking 5 drinks or more a day. The drinks ARE NOT STRONG, so you would have to drink 15 drinks in order to feel a buzz anyways. Also, if one person in your room wants a drink package then EVERYONE has to buy the same drink package. Don’t bother buying the Carnival cups at the bar thinking you are getting a deal either. You’re not. It doesn’t matter about the size of the cup because the same amount of alcohol is being used for the drink. It’s just a way for them to get more money of out you.
b. There were little plates posted around the ship advertising “free” Wi-Fi. When I connected to the Carnival Triumph WIFI I was surprised to learn their definition of free. The use of the WIFI was free if you were only surfing on Carnival.com. If you wanted to check email or Facebook to communicate with family/friends there was a $5/day charge. Not free and very misleading.
c. Since I was told I could bring a bottle of wine I thought it would be great to have a glass over dinner. My friends and I brought a bottle of red wine to dinner one night and I proceeded to open it with my own wine opener. I was immediately stopped by our wonderful server, Conrad, who explained there was an uncorking fee…even if I uncorked the wine myself. Shocked by this information, as it was never mentioned by the representative beforehand, I asked how much the fee was. My friends and I were informed it would cost $15….yes $15, to drink the wine during dinner. The fee cost more than the bottle of wine! So essentially, Carnival is charging you $15 to drink YOUR OWN WINE!!!! In order to not be charged the uncorking fee, you have to walk in with your glass already poured (using your provided wine glass in your stateroom), meaning you’re limited to one glass of wine if everyone in your room will use their glass. This left a very bad taste in my mouth. I felt the fee was very petty and asinine. Why tell people they can bring their own wine if they can’t actually enjoy it during dinner without being charged some absurd fee? Ridiculous. Oh, and there’s this lovely gentleman named Dan that comes around for dinner offering shots. He says you can buy one and get one free, but when you check your statement it shows you’ve been overcharged. Don’t get the shots; not worth the $8 or headache of trying to get the incorrect charges removed.
d. Steak- So, my friend was really looking forward to having steak for dinner. This was her first cruise and she was very excited to experience the “all inclusive” cuisine. Unfortunately, a good cut of steak was not included on the menu. The prime rib steak was included, but the other cuts were a $20 surcharge. Her prime rib was ok, and came with some off brand steak sauce and a baked potato. The steak sauce had a weird consistency and tasted watered down. She had to ask for A1 sauce, when it really should have been offered in the first place. The baked potato was just that. The potato was not cut or dressed. It was merely a baked potato that rolled to and fro on her plate. A server came around with toppings, but no wants cold cheese or toppings on their potato. It seemed lazy on their part to not at least cut the potato open and make it look appetizing.
2. Stateroom Service:
a. I booked the cruise with 3 passengers total in the room. When we arrived in our room we were greeted by our custodian. He was confused why there were three people in the room, because the room is normally for two people. There were two twin beds, and a sofa that was capable of folding out into a bed. There was also a pull down bunk bed available. After explaining there would be three of us in the room he made the sofa bed for the third person. When we returned to the room we found two bottles of complimentary water for my friend and I. The third person in our party did not receive a water. She asked for a water, but never received one. Also, the sheets were not changed daily after room service. My friend had a lipstick stain on her pillow, and the next night discovered it still remained on the pillow which was flipped over to hide it. I also witnessed someone put all of their sheets and comforter outside their door, I’m sure in an effort to get clean linens.
a. The pictures on board were ridiculously expensive. The pictures, ranging from size, cost anywhere between 13.99-21.99 a picture. It’s crazy. And don’t expect to get any kind of deal from Blaise or Geral if you buy more pictures. Their idea of a deal is to give you a discounted USB drive, a discounted canvas portrait, or a discounted CD, instead of giving you an actual discount on your pictures. Their “deal” always requires you to spend more money in order to obtain the pictures. Very annoying. I understand it’s about business, but come on Carnival. Expect to spend anywhere from $200-300 or more if you want memories with family and friends. Blaise and Geral were very nice though, and we enjoyed many laughs with them while negotiating. I know they were just doing their job.
a. The entertainment on the cruise was pretty solid. Jess from the U.S. and Bingo Becca were my favorites. They really kept things moving and enjoyable. After our third night of Bingo we came to the conclusion that it was probably rigged. I recommend getting the cheapest package available since no one ever wins the grand prize anyways.
a. The taco stand was pretty good, convenient, and fresh ingredients were always available. The Burger Joint was also very good and had many toppings available. There was always soft serve ice cream or frozen yogurt available.
b. The lines to the buffet on Lido Deck 9 were ALWAYS long no matter what dining time. If you don’t want to wait I suggest you make it there before they open and stand in line. For breakfast there is the buffet, but also there is a continental breakfast stand adjacent to the buffet that has grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausage, but most importantly a short line or no line at all. I did not like the scrambled eggs, so instead I opted to go to the taco stand to get the Huevos Rancheros which consists of over easy eggs. There was never a line and I could get regular eggs instead of the scrambled mess. Also, there is seating available upstairs where the buffet is located. We didn’t notice this until the very last day. It’s a very nice ocean view, air conditioned, and you have access to the outside area of the boat where there are lounge chairs.
c. The food for dinner was nothing spectacular. The salmon lacked seasoning. The shrimp creole jambalaya was pretty good. The white chocolate vanilla bread putting was also pretty good. The steak was just ok. Overall, the food was good. Iced water was always available at the dinner table; however, lemonade was never offered. We always had to ask for something other than water. We had good servers who always seemed to be in good spirits. Conrad was great and danced his way into our hearts.
d. There is a pizza joint all the way to the back of the boat that is just ok also. If you want a snack before dinner you can definitely get a couple of slices to hold you over. I did not find the staff there to be particularly friendly though.
e. There is an Asian wok available inside on Lido Deck 9. Lines are generally very long, but the food is very good.
f. Chips and Dip- This cruise could really benefit from some chips, dip, pico, guacamole, etc. There were so many times where we just wanted a snack or something to munch on, and not a big meal. Chips are so inexpensive, yet they were not made available until the very last night of sailing. I was pretty disappointed by the lack of snacks on this cruise. I know it’s not that big of a deal, but it’s the small things that make a trip. Something as simple as chips and pico really could have went a long way.
a. I did sign up for a spa treatment after attending the Ladies Pamper Party. At this party you are given a “deal” on spa treatments totaling $99. You can pick from three 20 minutes areas to massage. After you get the massage, an effort is made to sell you a bath soaking treatment called Elemis. I received the massage and bought Elemis to bring home. My honest opinion is to skip the massage and buy Elemis muscle soaking treatment!! I love it!
a. So we went to Cozumel and Progresso. We decided to do an excursion in Cozumel, so the only feedback I have is for that excursion. We went on the boat excursion that did twists in the water before taking you to a private island. We had a blast. If you do this excursion just know you will get wet during the boat ride. The island was very nice, but bring your bug spray! You may not feel it at first, but you will get bit. The food supplied was also very good. The drinks were weak. Aida was our welcoming person, and she was very pleasant.
b. Progresso kind of sucked. The country is very poor and it’s clear the cruise ships are navigated there to help generate money from tourists. We didn’t do an excursion at this location, so maybe this is the place to do one in order to see the area. When we got off the boat there were shops set up for you to buy souvenirs. If you want to buy souvenirs, then this is the place. The prices are always extremely high, before negotiation. They like to say $55 first, but magically will come down to $20-25. It really just depends on how much you’re willing to spend for something you really like. I think this port should be re-evaluated. I would rather have cut that day completely or went someplace else.
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I live in New Orleans! Come and visit! The best food is here!